Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Tour: My Name Is A'yen

Today, I welcome Rachel Leigh Smith to my blog. She is touring her brand new book, "My Name Is A'yen." When I first read a snippet from this book, I was intrigued by the main character, who happens to share my profession. An Archaeologist in space with romance? Yes please!

There was one little problem, 'archaeologist' was spelled wrong. It's a common mistake to spell it 'archeologist.' Unfortunately, this annoying misspelling permeates literature everywhere.

I wasn't sure if I should correct the author. It would be the very first interaction with Rachel and I didn't want to come across the wrong way. I went ahead anyway. If I could get the spelling corrected in one piece of fiction, I would be ecstatic. Rachel was more than happy to correct it and we have been talking ever since! When she started touring the book, I just had to host her! I'm very excited about this release!

Without further rambling, here's Rachel with a snippet of her Archaeologist at work:

Rachel Leigh Smith:
I met Kyndra not long after I joined the Science Fiction Romance Brigade and started participating in The SFR Brigade Presents. She corrected me on my spelling of 'archaeologist' and told me she was one. Cool! I’d never met an Archaeologist before.

The heroine of My Name Is A’yen, Farran Hart, is an Archaeologist determined to find the Loks Mé homeworld. A’yen, a Loks Mé, believes it’s a myth and never existed. The novel is set in Earth year 5231, so I made up most of the stuff Fae does, based on my basic knowledge of archaeology which comes from watching a lot of Egypt and Biblical documentaries.

I promised Kyndra an excerpt of Fae practicing her art, and here it is. The beetle is a recurring motif in Loks Mé culture. For the full scoop on it and what it means, you’ll have to read the book.

All her dates were wrong. Pete’s discovery of the year the recording had been made shook the foundations of history. Exactly two thousand years ago. How much of history had the mysterious Social Union rewritten? Or more appropriately, the Marcasians via the Union.

She hiked the ramp out of the dig and turned to survey the work. The last ten days, they’d focused on the wall. It now stretched fifty-three feet in a straight line. Chunks were missing, like a giant fist had punched through the stone, and she still hadn’t figured out how it happened.

“Dr. Hart, you need to come see this.” One of the grad assistants waved his hat in the air and she jogged over to him. A slab of stone met her gaze. “I think it’s a lid of some kind.”

She worked her way down the side, careful not to touch the stone with her feet. Bending over, she ran her fingers across the exposed edges. “I think you’re right.”

An indention in the stone caught her attention. No brush in her pocket, so she used her hand, then blew on it. A beetle. “A’yen, come here a minute.”

“I’m already scanning it in.”

She lifted her head, found him standing above her, scanner in hand. “There’s something I want to show you.”

He tucked the scanner in his pocket and joined her beside the stone. His eyes widened when he saw the beetle, and he held his hand to it. Nothing happened. “What do these things mean?” His whisper carried to her ears alone.

“I wish I knew.” She stood. Looking down at his back, the muscles across his shoulders and neck tensed. He covered the beetle again, leaned closer, pressed his ear against the stone.

“We need to open it.”

Bio: Rachel Leigh Smith writes romance for the hero lover. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and a half-crazed calico. When not writing, which isn’t often, she’s hanging with her family, doing counted cross-stitch, or yakking about life, the universe, and everything with her besties. There may also be Netflix binging . . .

She blogs sporadically at, can be found on Twitter @rachelleighgeek, and hangs out on Facebook, You can sign up for her newsletter here.

Buy Links:


They've taken everything from him. Except his name.

The Loks Mé have been slaves for so long, freedom is a distant myth A'yen Mesu no longer believes. A year in holding, because of his master's murder, has sucked the life from him. Archaeologist Farran Hart buys him to protect her on an expedition to the Rim, the last unexplored quadrant.

Farran believes the Loks Mé once lived on the Rim and is determined to prove it. And win A'yen's trust. But she's a breeder's daughter and can't be trusted.

Hidden rooms, information caches and messages from a long-dead king change A'yen's mind about her importance. When she's threatened he offers himself in exchange, and lands on the Breeder's Association's radar. The truth must be told. Even if it costs him his heart.
Question for readers: Who is your favorite romance hero?
Hello dear readers. Rachel Leigh Smith is having a giveaway to celebrate her new release! I love that it looks like an artifact, like ancient jewelry.

Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Restless In Peaceville by Pippa Jay

Zombies are fun. I like zombies. One of the best thing about them is that so much can be done with them, everything from "Night of the Living Dead" to "Warm Bodies." They've become a part of our very culture. So, when Pippa said she was being attacked by zombie plot bunnies and after I got the image of half-decayed brain-eating rabbits out of my head, or maybe because I had that image in my head, I was intrigued. When Pippa said she wanted to place her story in the Deep South, I perked up. When Pippa said she wanted to make her zombies Cajun, I was in! Cajun zombies. No one has ever done that before to my knowledge. And the possibilities are endless!

There was a slight potential problem with this idea: Pippa is British. When she asked her Southern US friends for guidance on things Southern and Cajun, I was more than happy to dive right in, being Southern and all. She sent the first chapter and I knew right then that she had something pretty awesome. That demon administrator is such writing gold that I was grinning from ear to ear, such great imagination and imagery. If I wasn't already sold on the story after reading the descriptions of him, I was fully invested by the chapter ending scream. Brilliant!

British or not, Pippa was clearly onto something with this Cajun zombie thing. Writing what you don't know, and doing it so well, is the mark of a truly great author. Her research payed off and being available to answer all her questions was a lot of fun. Any Cajun-specific questions she had, I referred her to a relative of mine, who happens to be Cajun. When she got the book deal, I was very excited for her, but not surprised. I knew the story was unique from the get go and would have been surprised if she didn't get a book deal.

So, here we are on the book tour, something I wouldn't miss out on for the world! I knew immediately that I wanted to review this thing and I could talk on and on about it forever. I'll try to keep it somewhat short...ish...without giving anything away.

First of all, wow, a book dedication. I've never had a book dedicated to me and when I read that dedication, I was positively floored. Thank you, Pippa!

The descriptions of what it feels like to be a zombie are excellent. I never really thought of all that before. As I read through the second chapter, I found that I had no idea how Luke and Annabelle were going to end up. Luke briefly wonders if people will be trying to blow his head off and if eating brains is compulsory. I was just so curious to see how this ends that I couldn't stop reading. And the humor! It was pretty funny that Annabelle is so nimble while Luke can't even tie his shoes with his 'zombie fingers.' I loved that level of detail.

In fact, the level of detail throughout the story is excellent and really pulled me in.

"Frogs and the haunting cry of barred owls call to us as we walk, the underlying buzz of insects never falling silent. The odd splash of something slipping into the water."

That's an amazing description, so spot on that I felt like I was at home.

"I'm just thankful no one is using Route 31 tonight, or I'll be flat as the couple of roadkill snakes I see along the way."

Seriously, how has this author never been to this part of the world? Such detail like this can only come from someone who's lived there, right? Wow!

All the questions Luke and Annabelle have are questions I was having too. What IS going to become of them? What ARE they going to do? What DO zombies do for entertainment? Well, I know that entertainment for me was two zombies, living in a house with a vampire, going to see a voodoo queen. Loved it!

As I read this book, there were a lot of things coming up about zombies that I never thought of before. What would happen if a vampire bit a zombie? What if a zombie had been cremated? What happens if bugs get under a zombie's dead skin? Would a zombie win the best zombie contest at Halloween? What would happen if a zombie and an alligator, a creature who loves rotten flesh, crossed paths? #CajunZombieProblems

There was so much thought put into this book and I love that it made me look at zombies in a whole new way.

The romance between the two main characters is very sweet. There is nothing explicit at all, just two teenagers trying to figure out what love could be after death.

I think teenagers would really love this story. The main character, Luke, confronts his bully. The first encounter I loved, but I wasn't quite sure what to think about the second encounter. There seemed to be something missing to provoke that sequence of events, just a small detail. But, I imagine any teenager who's been bullied would be satisfied with that outcome.

I loved how many times this book made me laugh. For how grim the situation was, there was a lot of great humor. I got a kick out of Luke's encounter with curious kids. I loved that he laughed too. It was pretty funny.

Having strong feelings regarding suicide, I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that particular aspect of the story. There is a reason it had to be that way, which made the story all the more poignant, but I was relieved that Luke regretted killing himself. Thinking of the glow, the bright spark of the living and how he had that and threw it away was a good lesson.

"Restless In Peaceville" definitely gets 5 stars from me. I had such a great time reading this story, I can't wait to read more by Pippa Jay!

Here are all the places where the book is available:
Lycaon Press – 

Bookstrand –

Omnilit –

Amazon US –

Amazon UK –

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here –

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If you've read down this far, surprise! A Giveaway! It's a cute little brain heart necklace. I wish I could have it. :) So fun!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spotlight! A Matter of Trust by Greta van der Rol

I read this excerpt and my stomach did flip flops!


Amira strode across the ornate polished stone floor of her father’s private sitting room and into his study. “You wanted to see me, Father?”

Prince Fedor Hezkurin looked up from the paperwork on his desk and scowled, his gaze flicking over her. “Amira, my dear, I wish you wouldn’t wear those peasant clothes. They don’t become you.”

“They’re very practical for my work with the Tuchaska.” She pulled off the clasp that tied back her ponytail and shook her head, sending her hair dancing around her shoulders.

Hezkurin sighed. “That doesn’t become you either. You should not be wasting your time with aliens.”

Amira pulled over a chair and sat facing him. Yes, she probably did need a shower, and a change of clothes, too. Her boots had probably left a trail over her father’s floor. But she wasn’t going to apologize. “It was their planet before we took it over.”

“Yes, my dear and we’ve been the rulers for two hundred years.”

“They provide the labor for your estates. If somebody doesn’t help them you won’t have a labor force at all.” They’d had this discussion before. He didn’t care about mysterious illnesses that only affected the Tuchaska. As far as he was concerned there were enough of them to get the work done. Without her intervention their physician wouldn’t have been able to obtain sufficient drugs to treat the sick.

Today she’d helped the doctor move two patients from their home to his clinic.

He nodded absently.

Her fingers beat a staccato tattoo on the arm of the chair. He was up to something. She could always tell. His eyes became shifty, darting around, and he fiddled with the objects on his desk. “Well?”

Prince Fedor shifted the picture of his wife one more time and took a deep breath. “I’ve been talking to Baron Ghaurondo.”

Ghaurondo? Big fat, ugly, loathsome Ghaurondo. She cocked an eyebrow. “How nice for you.”

“He’s a very powerful man, Amira.”

“Only in the Arondean Hegemony.”

Her father frowned. “Which is ten systems and where we live.”

“Yes, fine.” Amira crossed her legs and folded her arms. Her heart beat a little faster. This wasn’t sounding good. “So what?”

The Prince scratched absently at his neck above the ornate collar of his uniform. Goodness, that was a very bad sign. This wasn’t going to be good at all.

“As you know, we’ve not had the best of seasons. And we’re very dependent on the Arondean Hegemony… to buy our harvest, anyway. They’ve found other places to supply their agricultural products.” Fedor paused and licked his lips.

“What has that to do with me, father?”

“Baron Ghaurondo has always admired you.”

“Him and a few others.” Her pulse galloped. She had an idea she knew where this was going.

“He’s asked for your hand.”

“Sorry, I need both of mine.” She wished this was some sort of ridiculous joke. Or maybe she’d wake up in her own bed. “Father, you can’t be serious. He’s a bag of fat on legs. He’s got body odor.”

“Amira, darling, don’t make this difficult. It’s time you married again. He’s rich and powerful—”

“He’s twice my age and disgusting. No.” Anger boiled in her belly. So he thought he could order her about like a teenager, did he? She should never have come back here. “And why do I have to marry again anyway?”

“Christoph’s been dead for a year now and you’re not getting any younger.”

“Don’t give me the grandchildren story. I don’t want to hear it.” She stared at him, a horrible thought insinuating itself into her mind. He couldn’t mean…? Surely not. But his face was composed, the sort of look her father gave his estate manager when he’d made up his mind. “Oh, how obscene. With that… that…”

“Look at it from the family’s point of view, darling. It’s a strategic alliance. In the short term, Baron Ghaurondo can guarantee sale of our harvest. Without that, we’re in for a very hard time.”

“So you’re selling me to keep your economy going.”

“No. In the longer term, we become part of a powerful family that will secure our future here. You would be mother of the future Baron.”

Amira’s lip curled in disgust. “Oh, please, father. Ghaurondo already has a gaggle of sons.”

“He has promised your son will become—”

“So you’re selling me to gain political advantage. You disgust me.” At least he had the decency to squirm.

“No.” He scratched his neck again. “Look at the positives. Ghaurondo can give you anything you want. Jewels, clothes, finery, antiques.” He made an expansive gesture with his arm. “Anything at all.”

“He has nothing I want.”

The prince cleared his throat. “I’ve agreed, Amira. Baron Ghaurondo will be here tomorrow to collect his betrothed.”

Her heart lurched. Tomorrow. The bastard. “You didn’t think it might have been nice to discuss your plans for my life with me?” She jabbed her finger at her chest.

He leaned back in his chair, his fists on the desk, his gaze fixed on her face. “I knew what you’d say. But sometimes I have to think about more than just my immediate family’s interests.”

This was beyond acceptable. He might have sired her but contempt for him rose like bile in her throat. She rose to her feet and leaned over the desk at him. “You can’t do this. I’m thirty-six years old, not some naïve teenager to force into a strategic union.”

He flinched, but his jaw set. “I’ve given my word. It will be done.”

Amira shook her head slowly. “I’ve not given mine.” You contemptible bastard. She spun on her heel and strode toward the door, her boots ringing on the stone.

Her father’s sigh followed her. “I had hoped it would not come to this but you leave me no choice.”

The door opened. Six of the palace security guard waited outside.

Amira turned to her father, who stood behind his desk in his general’s pose: back straight and in command. He didn’t look at her, directing his attention at the armed men. “Escort Princess Amira to her apartments. She is not to leave without my express permission.”

Amira glowered at her father. Right now contempt wasn’t a good enough word. She despised him. “Do you think my mother would have approved of this?”

He looked at her then, a swift glance filled with sorrow before he said to the squad commander, “Take her away.”

“I despise you.” She marched off, flanked by the guards.


Oh my gosh! Doesn't that just get the blood flowing? What a terrible situation, one I can't wait to see the resolution of.

This book is available on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Payhip

Here's a little about the author of this intriguing snippet.

Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.

Find Greta on her awesome website:

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